A cheerful disposition is good for your health;
gloom and doom leave you bone-tired.
PROVERBS 17:22 (THE MESSAGE)
Yeah! It is about time! Scientists are now confirming what the ancient wisdom of the Bible has said all along – a good attitude is good for your health!
A sound mind makes for a robust body,
but runaway emotions corrode the bones.
PROVERBS 14:30 (THE MESSAGE)
Positive emotions can extend our life span and improve our physical and mental well-being. A study of Harvard graduates revealed that the way in which young men explained negative events – whether pessimistically or optimistically – indicated several physical health outcomes decades later. Specifically, optimism in early life predicted good health later in life.
Alastair Cunningham, PH.D, senior scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute asked experts to predict the life span of patients with incurable cancer. Cunningham and his team then gathered data on each patient’s attitudes and behaviors as they expressed their feelings about cancer and the support they received from fellow victims during weekly group therapy sessions. The patients who worked the hardest at transforming themselves psychologically lived at least three times longer than predicted.
Dr. Susan S. Knox who studies the interaction of psychology and physiology at the NIH (National Institute of Health) National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute says, “Emotional factors have a major impact on physical health.” She describes negative emotions as “worrying incessantly, feeling friendless and flying off the handle,” and says that such emotions “often lead to weaker immune systems, higher rates of heart disease and other major health problems.”
In a broad-based study of adults, age 65 and older, positive emotion was shown to be a strong predictor of how long people lived. Happy people were half as likely to become disabled when compared to people who were generally sad. In addition, those who live happy lives have a greater tolerance for physical pain than those who are sad.
It has also been reported that people who rate in the upper reaches of happiness on psychological tests develop about 50 percent more antibodies than average in response to flu vaccines. In addition, happiness or related mental states like hopefulness, optimism and contentment appear to reduce the risk or limit the severity of cardiovascular disease, pulmonary, diabetes, hypertension, colds and upper respiratory infections.
I don’t know about you but this is proof enough for me that I want to live the rest of my life not worrying incessantly and pessimistically but hopeful, optimistic and most of all content with whatever my circumstances. And you may wonder how a worrywart like me is going to achieve this sound mind? Well, I am going to follow the advice that the Apostle Paul shared with the Philippians …
Don’t fret or worry.
Instead of worrying, pray.
Let petitions and praises
shape your worries into prayers,
letting God know your concerns.
Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness,
everything coming together for good,
will come and settle you down.
It’s wonderful what happens
when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.
Summing it all up, friends,
I’d say you’ll do best
by filling your minds and meditating
on things true, noble, reputable,
authentic, compelling, gracious—
the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly;
things to praise, not things to curse.
Put into practice what you learned from me,
what you heard and saw and realized.
Do that, and God, who makes everything work together,
will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
PHILIPPIANS 4:4-8 (THE MESSAGE)
On the Journey with You,